Yoga breathing through a particular nostril increases spatial memory scores without lateralized effects

Author: Naveen KV//Nagarathna R//Nagendra HR//Telles S
Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India
Conference/Journal: Psychol Rep
Date published: 1997
Other: Volume ID: 81 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 555-61 , Special Notes: Clinical Trial Randomized Controlled Trial , Word Count: 160

Uninostril breathing facilitates the performance on spatial and verbal cognitive tasks, said to be right and left brain functions, respectively. Since hemispheric memory functions are also known to be lateralized, the present study assessed the effects of uninostril breathing on the performance in verbal and spatial memory tests. School children (N = 108 whose ages ranged from 10 to 17 years) were randomly assigned to four groups. Each group practiced a specific yoga breathing technique: (i) right nostril breathing, (ii) left nostril breathing, (iii) alternate nostril breathing, or (iv) breath awareness without manipulation of nostrils. These techniques were practiced for 10 days. Verbal and spatial memory was assessed initially and after 10 days. An age-matched control group of 27 were similarly assessed. All 4 trained groups showed a significant increase in spatial test scores at retest, but the control group showed no change. Average increase in spatial memory scores for the trained groups was 84%. It appears yoga breathing increases spatial rather than verbal scores, without a lateralized effect.